Every so often, the musicians of the Metro-Atlanta DIY scene seem to quit the band they are in, only to resurface in another a few months later. It’s the same group of people, in different pairings, playing various sub-genres that originate from punk; if you go back far enough. Due to the reputations of the projects in the members’ past, these new bands are frequently hyped up to be local “super groups”.
That’s exactly how I viewed Dog Years when I first heard about them this past June. With members coming from some of my local favorites (Astro Jones, Jebediah Springfield, Places to Hide, Microwave, and Caverns), they were bound to be a local legend for years to come. Their debut release, “We Thought We Were So Cool”, is a good start.
The EP starts out calm and relatively quiet with the track, “Return Address”. The guitar and drum driven introduction quickly retreats to make way for singer, Ben Lively’s rough-style vocals, reminiscent of post-hardcore outfit Balance and Composure’s, Jon Simmons, or even Chuck Ragan of the late 90’s emo punk group Hot Water Music. The blunt opening line, “I never thought I’d buy such a load of bullshit,” begins a story of a dishonest lover. The chorus breaks into the full sound of the band, featuring interrupted but driving instrumentation that follows each vocal line closely. The second verse and chorus is more of the same but flows nicely into a bridge. Finally, the group vocal anthem at the end repeats, “I’m not calling back again,” which promises audience participation when performed live.
Aside from enticing the listener to listen through to the last track, I see no reason why a great song like, “Jesse Can’t Hang,” wasn’t the opener. It continues the mellow but emotional approach of the previous track, complete with a quiet drum and guitar based introduction. The catchy chorus will more than likely get stuck in your head, especially if you can relate to “shotgunning beers in the basement” or know a guy name Jesse who, apparently, “can’t even hang”. The third verse features the line that inspired the title of the EP, “We threw it straight down in high school. Fuck that shit; we thought we were so cool.” Notably, Dog Years enlists the voice of Tyler Seaman of the Atlanta based band, Good Thoughts, to sing the bridge.
No matter what genre I’m listening to, long songs have a way of drawing me in and capturing my attention. “Homer” is no exception. It starts of with an ambient guitar and adds a dark bass line, a minimalistic drum beat, with Ben’s unrelenting voice on top. The chorus is where the song really shines and hits harder than ever, using drummer, Noah Linn’s, heavy fills as its backbone. For its length, the song is lyrically lacking but instrumentally, this is their collective musical talents at their best.
Overall, this EP is a good but short introduction to what will hopefully be a long lasting musical endeavor. If they improve upon their already great quality songwriting, Dog Years will be the talk of local music listeners everywhere. “We Thought We Were So Cool” is available on their Bandcamp page, iTunes, and Spotify.